MBA or rMBP for School

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Grimey, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Grimey macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2013

    I am about to start studying Computer Science and biology and am looking to buy a laptop for school. I have a bit of a dilemma though. My budget is about $2,250. I have narrowed things down to two options as a result: First, I could buy an 13" MBA and spend the remaining money to upgrade my desktop computer. I would be able to afford a pretty significant upgrade this way, certainly the mobo and cpu and maybe a new monitor as well. The other option is to leave my desktop as is, which is alright but not great, and get the current model 15" rMBP (I wish I could wait for the update but I don't have the time). The advantage to this is the bigger monitor and having the extra power may be nice if I want to work somewhere other than my room. I was wondering if anyone here would have any advice or suggestions?

  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    1) Student discount, you'll save between 15-20% on a new Mac. You'll also get free warranty with that. (Yes, seriously).

    2) Wait for the Haswell rMBPs to be released.

    3) Buy the highest retina MacBook Pro spec that your budget can dictate, in tandem with the aforementioned discount.

    4) Love your Mac, become Apple fanatic. Spend hours and days just staring at your Mac. Forget to do Uni work, spend time affectionately stroking its thin aluminium case. Begin to hear voices in your head that 'all who do not believe in Apple must die'. Break into janitor's cupboard, find axe. Go on campus murder spree against anybody not wielding a Mac. Get arrested. Read headlines next day, be world-renowned. Spend rest of life in jail with a burly black cellmate who goes by the name of 'Shirley'. Begin to realise you'll never walk again without having a limp. Learn to never pick up the soap.

    Then slowly plot your escape. Ask for a pin-up of a girl. Gradually begin digging yourself out of prison, like 'The Shawshank Redemption'. Go through poo-pipe to end up clean on the other end. Police look for you and can't find you.

    Get job, cash-in-hand. Be forever on the run. Finally make a few thousand spare. Go down to local Apple Store. Purchase latest Retina MacBook Pro. Go mental again.

    It's an endless cycle with Apple products. :apple:
  3. ToomeyND macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2011
    I seen it a hundred times.
  4. saotomefirst macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2012
    Rio de Janeiro
    Just adding my 2 cents:

    I'm also on Computer Sciences, and I decided last year I deserved better than my previous netbook to go to classes - RIP, Asus Eee PC 900 :rolleyes: . I bought the mid-2012 13'' MBP and I can tell you it's far more than what you'll need.:D

    For basic computing - documents, spreadsheets, presentations, web surfing, etc. - it is awsome. The lack of a dedicated GPU won't impair you at all - unless you, like me, are a hardcore gamer on your free time, and even then, only if you do mind having your favorite games running on maxxed settings (that Intel HD4000 does run all my important games on OSX, low settings, but they run, and the ones that don't run on OSX do run on Windows 7 on Bootcamp fairly well).

    If I were in your position, I'd go for the 13'' MBA. Since you are out of time, may not be an option, but I do recommend getting, if you have the chance:
    - 512 MB HD if you can, as you may have to install Windows at some point to run some Windows specific program for your programming lessons; and
    - 8 GB RAM, as it is not upgrade-able after the purchase

    It should be all you need for the next 2~3 years of studies (3~4 years if you manage to get the upgrades). Also, the reduced weight and extra battery life will be great for you, and ofc you'd still have plenty of cash to invest in your home PC for better gaming performance.:cool:

    The rMBP is not a great option for you, since the only things you'll miss on a MBA are the bigger screen and the GPU. The GPU is a nice addition - and how I miss it TT___TT , but your back will complain for having to carry nearly 2x the weight just because you wanted better graphics and a bigger screen. And in the end, it would become your main computer, as you'd not have the cash to invest in your desktop.

    Hope that helps you to decide. Anyway, welcome to the Apple side of the Force :p
  5. Grimey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2013
    It would certainly seem so.

    Thanks! That helps a lot actually! I am certainly a gamer, that's what my desktop has always been for, but our family computers are Macs and I love them. I have 1.5TB HDD on the desktop plus 90GB SSD, so I am not too worried about disk space, so the 256GB is more than enough in the laptop for me. I think I will get the MBA with the upgraded RAM and upgrade my desktop with the leftover money. Still running a Core 2 Duo. :p The retina display is certainly a juicy piece of technology and the 15" screen would be nice for programming, but it is definitely a pricey upgrade and really, the resolution on the MBA is still pretty good. Thanks for the feedback! It is really appreciated.

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